life, love,art. heart failure and assorted ramblings

life, love,art. heart failure and assorted ramblings

Don't Talk Like That...

I write to find out what my heart thinks....
I write to expose and work through the ugly parts of this disease, open heart surgery that was less than successful and more recently an S-ICD (internal cardiac defibrillator) implanted in my chest that will hopefully restore my heart beat in case of sudden cardiac death. I am here to celebrate my life, to uncover my fears, to hold on to love, to learn how to live a full life with heart failure, to honor my creativity, and to explore all of my emotions out loud ...before anyone can say
"Don't talk like that!"


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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Conformity...

Isn’t conformity what we were
taught to strive for if we wanted to fit in…be happy, successful?  Aren’t we taught even now,  not to think for ourselves in schools and our jobs?  We even elected a president that publically declared that he loved the poorly educated!  I suspect most of our politicians would prefer the uninformed and the poorly educated.  When we don’t understand, we don’t ask questions, which leave them free to serve themselves instead of me/us.

 I truly hate what is happening in our current government, but I am thrilled to see the level of public involvement and civil disobedience erupting.  But I still see so many just agree, keep the peace,  or not speak out for the purpose of being liked or to conform with friends and family!  It is one thing to speak your truth, fight for what you believe and still loose…it happens to all of us from time to time.  But to be silent risks that I will not like myself when it is all done.  I am honorable, I pay attention and I speak up…I still believe what Lincoln said….. "Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth."  I may not discuss it publicly or blast it on FB but I continue to have discussions with those I share common views with.  I continue to write my senators and congressmen and women.   I believe we the people can truly make a difference and advance good government.  
"Hand in My Pocket"  Alanis Morissette

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Well Damn…and I pretend so well!



Well Damn…and I pretend so well!

In fact, if I had to choose some of my better qualities, pretending would be way up there on the top ten charts.  

My reality gets really hard sometimes.  I can see absolutely nothing wrong with stepping out every now and again into a wonderful and perhaps fairy tale world of my own making.  I suspect the real secret is knowing when to step back into my real life.  In the midst of really crappy stuff, the only way to survive often comes with the ability to ignore the shit for a while!

Old Socrates was right, pretending will not alter the reality, but it makes it bearable from time to time.


"What a Fool Believes" Doobie Brothers

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Not linear is a miraculous thing!

Not linear…..This is great news!  For such a HUGE part of my life…healing was taken for granted.  I expected and trusted healing as much as I did the sun to rise.  Fall down skin your knee, no worries, it will heal.  Twist an ankle, yee-ouch...it is going to hurt like hell but it will heal….catch a cold, pick up a stomach virus, cut your finger, even something as traumatic as surgery…Not to worry… my body knows what to do….it is going to heal… that is what it does, and it does it in a trackable, expected way with and sometimes without medication ….My physical body is a healing machine!  But all of that has changed and each time I have a “glitch” I wonder…. will it heal the way I expect it to this time?  The last go-round was “iffy” and we are still working on it…but I think this body is coming through for me again….It is truly a miraculous thing!

"Heal Yourself"  Ruthie Foster

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Tickled it is Tuesday!

Mondays are their own kind of weird, which is why it is really great to be Tuesday.  It has been years since I was a  M thru F,  9 to 5-er and still, Mondays bring on a feeling of unreasonable panic. I cannot shake all of the years of harrowing dread of going back to work on Monday mornings. Getting 2 highly unorganized boys whose only true talent in life has been negotiating reasons why they should not have to go to school was followed by spending the better part of the day "stamping out the proverbial fires" that began over the weekend at my job.  Mondays were always truly traumatic! I loved the actual work I did and my family but the out and out drama of Monday mornings would do me in every time. To this day.....there is still a lingering irrational feeling of Monday dread, which is precisely why I am so tickled it is Tuesday!

"Monday Monday"  The Mammas and Papas

Monday, April 24, 2017

There will never be another Horsefeathers....

This one may have been here before, but it was such a great week, it is worth repeating! 

This was one of the day sails from St. Thomas and that is either St. John or one of the BVI’s behind us.  My parents were perfect Virgin Island guides, they had lived there a couple of years by the time we visited and were running day sailing charters from Red Hook to Leinster Bay.  After sailing all day, we were always welcomed back to the marina by all of the patrons at the thatch-roofed bar named “Horsefeathers” where we would spend the rest of the evening “sipping” with the other boat people. It was truly like every tv sit-com bar complete with all of the appropriate characters. The perfect tv bar except for the part where "everyone knows your name" and I suspect that is exactly how they liked it!  We had such a good time sailing in the islands that we were enticed into buying our first sailboat, a 22 ft South Coast and we named it after that magic Red Hook Marina bar….Horsefeathers…Several years later we moved up to a larger boat and it was Horsefeathers II…all good memories and such great times.  This is where it all began.  There will never be another real Horsefeathers whether it is under a thatched roof in the Virgin Islands or under sail!
"Summer Place" Percy Faith

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Dragon Slayer: Wanted.

I no sooner posted this before I was looking around myself like there might be someone else in the room I could blame for what I had done! 

Yes, I am ready, yes I want to, yes I am excited, but for the first time in my life, it is not that I am just fighting the emotional battle of feeling like I am qualified to do this. It is so much more than my typical risk of facilitating something that is emotionally charged as creativity vs. the joy of being in the company of such marvelous unbridled creativity.  There is a brand new dragon is this battle.  His name is “Will this body let me do it?” I have to face this dragon head on!
You can be amazing, 
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast, 
Or be the backlash of somebody's lack of love
Or you can start speaking up, 
Nothing's gonna hurt you the way that words do
And they settle 'neath your skin,
 Kept on the inside and no sunlight
Sometimes a shadow wins But I wonder what would happen if you
Say what you wanna say, And let the words fall out…Honestly I wanna see you be brave.
"Brave" Sara Bareilles

Friday, April 21, 2017

Strangeness!

Oh, Thank Goodness!
On some level as artists, we already know this.  Rarely are we drawn to images that are photographically perfect!  I mean what is the point of excessively admiring what can be seen in life or something a camera can do already, cheaper and faster? 
As an art facilitator…of sorts…often the question of what is the difference between an “illustrator” and a “fine artist” comes up.  The question often arrives as “why do I like this “weirdness” so much?’  I will confess that both well-done illustration and fine art must have equal amounts of technical art skills and can be equally appealing.  But in my opinion, the important difference is the courage of a fine artist.  An illustrator will present a very photographic life like image.  The subject, color (if any), proportions, and surroundings, are realistic. The best examples I can think of are early portrait paintings or Norman Rockwell’s magazine cover images.  Our rational mind tends to judge this art by how realistic or lifelike it appears. But a fine artist consumes the same information, takes it into themselves, ingests it and for lack of a better way to describe this process,  spits it back out on the canvas, paper, sculpture, fabric, etc.…infused with their own style, feelings, and opinions.  It takes a huge amount of courage to present to the world our version of life, with all of its strangeness. 

The next time you are in front of a piece of non-conventional art, or a person or anything eccentric and find yourself unexplainably drawn to it, congratulations!  Your soul, not your logical rational mind has just recognized and responded to the “strangeness”.

"Not Other Way" Jack Johnson

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Medical code words....

For lack of serious medical training (and quite frankly I really do not need to understand every single micro medical reason) this is basically what is happening now, according to yesterday’s nurse visit, I have pulmonary edema, which is the medical code word for fluid in my lungs. Not sure if this pic is an accurate representation of the quantity of fluid, but I am a “show me a picture” kind of gal….however, I DO NOT want to have the medical school gross pictures….this one works just fine for me and my imagination!  There is a fine line between understanding and just plain knowing too much.  The good news is that with the nebulizer and by doubling (again) the lasix we ought to be able to manage this, feel better and have more energy pretty soon!
That and pee more than I already do now…and that really sucks!
"Doctor My Eyes"  Jackson Browne

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

how much I get away with....

My idea of right and wrong is an ongoing topic for me!  Maybe because I want or need to justify some things I have done or will do that might be seen as wrong…but wrong by what measure?  Is it legal, scientific, moral (and is moral the same as religious?) and who specifically decides?  I suspect in the end, being a good “right” person will be judged by those I knew, it will depend on how closely my life decisions match up with theirs…but I think the most important thing I really need to wrap my heart and mind around is I have absolutely no control over what they think. But still, I (and you) will have to wonder….how much of my life was good and right and how much I just got away with?.........Bwa-ha-ha……..


"No Such Thing"  John Mayer

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Never really appreciated my metabolism....




And like this list is not enough….now it seems I need to add “because it makes me sick” to it!   I am still recovering from a big ugly sick from my NY trip, which BTW I really really really liked.  Now I have to add in the Birthday/Easter debauchery that among other things includes chocolate, beer, crab legs dripping in lemon/butter (and other things I will not mention, in an attempt to maintain my unsullied reputation) and I have one big ugly mess.  Dear god…. I miss my youth, and never really appreciated my metabolism!


"In My Dreams"  Amanda Palmer

Monday, April 17, 2017

It's all in the gloves....

On my recent trip to NY I had some “special” security concerns.  Now that I have the SICD implant I cannot go through the typical magnetic screener, then there was the battery powered oxygen
concentrator that I carried with me.  There are 3 other popular options.  #1 Go through the full body scanner,  #2 Have them “wand” me all over while avoiding the implant site and  #3 the full body pat down.  I might point out that both coming and going I was in the TSA pre-check line….I have yet to determine how or why I was chosen for that dubious honor or exactly what the difference was except I did not have to take off my shoes or sweater. 

Leaving Orlando I was walked through the full body scanner…no muss, no fuss, no magnetic screening!  The LaGuardia airport in NY was not so simple.  Even though I was again in the TSA pre-check list, I was chosen for the full body pat down.  My New York TSA screener was methodical, professional and she explained the entire procedure before she began.  It was over in a matter of 2 minutes, if that long.    I think the uncomfortable parts were that everyone was staring at me throughout the pat down, assuming I must be suspected of something horrible, and the other part, was when she snapped on those latex gloves.  Most of us have a limited experience with latex gloves, and those are typically in the doctor’s office.  As soon as the latex gloves are snapped on, we all brace for "what comes next" and it is never a good thing.  I bet if the TSA opted for happy colored knitted mittens, the fear and memories of the last unpleasant glove infiltration would reduce the ruckus about TSA pat downs being an invasion of privacy... 

TSA pat downs are truly quite benign…comparatively.  
It’s all in the gloves!


"Strip Me"  Natasha Bedenfield

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter mornings & Birthdays....





Easter Morning & Birthdays….Not as bad as having to share your birthday with Santa Claus, at least this is not an every year thing for me. Then when you get to my age, quite frankly perhaps it is time to quit acknowledging birthdays altogether!  But today it is about me and the bunny and I am pleased to say….he is indeed much older than me!


"Oh bla di oh bla da"   The Beatles

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Loved Big....

That I am a little all over the place…is an understatement! But (and you knew that was coming) I am feeling a little more “pointed in the right direction”. For the last few years, well since the heart attack and the heart failure diagnosis I feel like I had been running a race of sorts. Doing some things wrong and incredibly expensive inevitably damaging things that did not seem to work or stave off the progress of this disease and I have done some pretty stupid foolish things just because I want to or it feels good at the moment. I do not suspect either has done much to change how this goes. What I would truly like to do is to stop beating myself up for any or either of the things I have done in my life….good and/or bad. There is only one bit of good news. In my life.... There is one thing I feel I can claim I have done well…not all of the time, but over the long haul….I have loved big.

"No Such Thing"  John Mayer

Friday, April 14, 2017

Celebrating my "Aries-ness" today!



There are some excellent things in my life, and of course some not so great things.  I will be 63 on Easter Sunday and I beat my NY parting gift of pneumonia with the help of Z-pac magic!  My life is full of good things and bad and I would not give up any of them….(well maybe a couple of bad ones!)


"Walk the Walk"  Eric Bibb

Thursday, April 13, 2017

What I'm talking about....


Because quite frankly I have no idea what I am talking about, but it has occurred to me that…I talk (or write) an awful lot, for someone that has no idea!  I am only one of millions of human beings, not less than… not more than… just another one of them. 

I am reminded again that everything changes, not always in ways that I think are the best, but they do indeed change.
I am reminded that I do not need to convince anyone else,
I just have to convince myself.


"Something to Talk About" Bonnie Rait

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Yes...but



Yes but….
every once in a while I am just sad.  
Not end of the world sad…. but not such a good day sad.  
And I suspect being sad is ok…
well maybe more than ok…
perhaps it is a necessary thing. 

How would I or could I recognize the happy great days if I had not experienced the sad days?  So my sad days do not need company or someone here to hold my hand, or someone to hug my neck and pat my back saying “there-there”.  Sometimes I just need to have sad days so I can really recognize, revel and celebrate the good days!


"From Me to You"  Janis Ian

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Outsmarting the sprinkler police....

It has been terribly dry recently….and the new crotons planted up under the living room window have really been struggling.  I have been going out with the hose and hand watering each of them every day.  That does seem to be a reasonable reaction, since we are indeed under a water ban, and not allowed to use our water sprinklers…. accept on my days….Thursday and Sunday and not  between the hours of 10 AM and 4PM but I am lazy and it was taking too long.  I carefully developed a plan, lined up the sprinkler head, which took some serious engineering skills so that it watered  just my crotons.  I figured it would be best to turn it on only after dark for a half hour, so I would not get caught by the sprinkler police.

I was so proud of myself and the plan was excellent, working perfectly, the crotons have perked up and are no longer drooping or loosing leaves….. until last night.  It was a wonderful evening with the windows open and a rare perfect spring night breeze blowing.  I tip toed out the front door, turned on the outlawed sprinkler at precisely the correct water flow. But…before I could get back in the house the water pressure changed, I suspect from typical neighborhood use. It is really difficult to actually see the water trajectory in the dark but after a few seconds it was clear that it was shooting in through my open window….and onto my laptop keyboard.  Panic set in and I could not decide if it would be better to dash in and grab the computer out of the way…..or dash out and turn off the water. Either way, I could not move fast enough to stop the computer carnage…and my key board was soaked!

So much for outsmarting the sprinkler police….
Damn it...I never get away with anything!!!
"Evil Ways"  Santana

Monday, April 10, 2017

Healing myself.....

Came home from my NY museum trip with oodles of inspiration and lungs full of fluid!  I sound like I should be in a TB ward but so far there are no signs of infection.  That is the good news; the frustrating news is to be so full of creative ideas and so low on energy!  The level of frustration is as close to maddening as I can imagine possible!   However as it turns out, I can sit quietly (low energy) and play with clay and paint and it is giving way to some interesting expression.  I was truly “turned on” by the simplicity and the meaning of the works in the Oceania section of The Met.  Some of those works dug up some unresolved battle grounds in my heart that are insisting on being explored visually.   The tall one is “Sees Right Through Me” the other is “When My Boundaries Turn into Prisons”.  There are more feelings stirring around in my heart looking for a way to get out into the real world.  I know they are kind of dark, they are the things no one wants to talk about, but they are here…in my thoughts and feelings anyway.  Pulling them out and making them real I think may help me be more aware of the negativity that haunts me. I may be unable to heal my body, but…I can heal my spirit.

"Heal Yourself"  Ruthie Foster

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Love wildly, passionately and fearlessly....

Yea….but think of all of the fun I will have first!  For me…..to love wildly, passionately and fearlessly means to put myself first and that as a woman, mother, wife, and daughter was always presented to me as a bad selfish thing.  I do not recall ever being presented variations, “shades of gray” or any set of circumstances that taking care of my needs or wants was ok to do.  Anything other than complete compliance was self-centered and not deserving love.

I plan to be following my heart much more….

"All About Your Heart" Mindy Gledhill

Friday, April 7, 2017

Cultivating faith.....

I think most feel like I have no faith at all because I do not subscribe or believe in any specific religion. I think they are wrong.  I feel like I have more faith than most, the only difference is my faith does not require rules, buildings, books, payrolls or tithing.  My faith is simple…. do no harm, do the best you can and love.  That is my faith….plain and simple. No need for magic gods, services or sacrifices…only love.  I am the first to admit that simple does not always mean easy, I screw up regularly and that is where the ceaseless questioning comes in. 

"For What it is Worth" Buffalo Springfield


Thursday, April 6, 2017

I am the whole fu(#!~@ fire!

Every now and again, I find myself sinking…sinking physically and emotionally...it sucks! But I am learning that my source of strength cannot come from outside of me.  Although, I recognize that the things outside of me are totally capable of taking my strength away and that truly seems so unfair!  Even if strength could be magically delivered from one person to another, it would never be the right size, never the correct amount; actually it might never be enough.  I imagine that I could literally suck the life out of the very people I love without really meaning to.  My strength has to come from me and only me. We all know that no one can do this for us but there is a part of me that wishes they could.  

Art holds my lesson.  The work that proves to me that something of worth, something that can fill my heart with value can come from unrelated stuff and nothingness. I am the ingredient, the strength that causes that to happen.  The times that I cannot whip up the feelings of strength and value of just being here is when it is the most important time for me to get back in to my studio….that is the one place where I am the whole fucking fire!

"Me" Paula Cole

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

New Equipment


I have a new piece of equipment….ughhhhh!  Enough already!  According to the Doc and I guess the nurse too,  since they both came to see me yesterday and I never get both of them on the same day, I think they must have suspected I would be coming home with issues. Seems my heart and lungs got a bit backed up while I was in NY, so now I need to suck on a nebulizer to get the meds in me quicker 4 times a day.  Quite frankly this “more equipment” program is getting a bit out of hand!  But whatever happens next, believe me….it was so worth it and I would go to NY again in a heartbeat, the museums and the art was worth it.  I
am hoping that is all of the equipment I will need from here on out
…so bring it on.... I can do it!
"Keep Breathing" Ingrid Michaelson

Monday, April 3, 2017

The New York Museum Trip!

and again.....it may take a moment for the video  to load...